Donations sought for Hempstead fire victim burials
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Community leaders in the Village of Hempstead asked Friday for donations to help cover the $12,000 burial costs of a woman and her 8-year-old son killed in a fire a week ago.
Guadalupe Ramirez, 37, and her son, Fernando, died in their third-floor apartment after flames roared through the residential building at 17 St. Paul's Rd. North on Feb. 9.
Ana Ramirez, 53, Guadalupe Ramirez's mother, said she will be taking responsibility for raising her two surviving grandchildren; Kenny, 16, and Abby, 6.
"My daughter and my grandson were burned to death," the grandmother said during a news conference with community leaders at the offices of the Hempstead Economic Opportunity Commission, an anti-poverty group.
"They died, and now we are practically on the street. We don't have enough to cover the funeral cost, and we are asking for your cooperation in this," she said, speaking through an interpreter.
She said the fire was caused by an electrical problem in the apartment building.
The Nassau County fire marshal's office did not return telephone calls Friday, but James Hickman, division supervisor with the marshal's office, said a week ago that the blaze wasn't suspicious.
The news conference was arranged by Sergio Argueta, a community activist who founded S.T.R.O.N.G. Youth Inc., a nonprofit that works to divert young people from street gangs.
Argueta said donations can be made on the group's website -- strongyouth.com -- or by mailing a check to the group at 806 Jerusalem Ave., Uniondale, NY 11553, with "Ramirez Relief Fund" written in the memo line.
Also present Friday was George Siberon, executive director of the Hempstead Hispanic Civic Association, and Mateo Flores, director of the anti-poverty group. Both pledged their support in the fundraising effort.
"We need other individuals to step up," Argueta said.
Services will be held Sunday afternoon at Hempstead Funeral Home. Burial will be Tuesday.